Title: And the Last Shall Be First
Author: Whisper2AScream
Disclaimer: Ye ol' cover your ass plan, here we go: Xander, Willow, Buffy, and other mentioned characters aren't mine, they're Joss Whedon's, and Mutant Enemy. And Kuzui Productions, Twentieth Century Fox, and UPN affliates are probably in there somewhere too. Fair enough?
Rating: PG-13 for language (including one F-bomb, whoopee-do) If you're old enough to watch the show, should be old enough for this.
Spoilers: Up to and including Season 6, especially "Grave"
Summary: (S6 spoilers, "Grave")Sometimes the most unlikeliest person can do the most good. Carpenter and fool, it's Xander's turn.
A/N: hey, look, it's post-Grave fic that doesn't involve Buffy and Spike, what are the odds? Hehehehe, sorry, but it's getting a bit much. Hell, Spike barely got a few measly minutes of screen time just to satisfy JM's contract as a series regular in the two-parter. Though liked the Nirvana reference.

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"I'm gonna do what I need to do
'cause it's time to be what I need to be
It's time to be what I need to be" - VAST, "Free"

I listened to Anya's words, and a moment of clarity hit me. I had to go. Buffy will be ok, and if what Anya... no, if what Giles said is true, there's nothing she can do, and when did he show up anyway? Doesn't matter, have to keep going. Have to stop Willow before she destroys us. God, how weird is that? My best friend, one of the most important people in my life wants to kill us all. I still find it hard to believe.

Part of my mind is saying why bother? What can I do? Oh yeah, talk her out of massacring everybody, not to mention she's a super powerful witch on rampage. Yeah, that'll work. Throw her a few zingers, try to remind her that we still care about her? Maybe just let her kill us, then at least won't have to live in the world without her. Hell, won't be me, or a world left... wait... wait...

I run faster, thoughts starting to get clearer in my mind. Why shouldn't I be there? We've always been a part of each other's lives, so might as well go down together.

And I could understand her pain. I wasn't as close to Tara as she was, but I still cared about her. She was a good friend, and yeah, I'll admit, Warren got what was coming to him. The bastard deserved it. I remember how he treated those girls in the club, like they were just things to be used, and discarded. Everything was disposable, easy to throw away. Like lives. Like Tara, Buffy, and that girl, Katrina, was it? And seriously, what were the courts going to do, really? Even if he was convicted, he might not serve that much jail time, plus I think he was beyond what hard time could do. But then again, did he deserved to be flayed like that? Hard to imagine anybody evil enough to deserve _that._

Only now it had gone beyond simple vengeance. Even Anya had admitted as much. I still regret what I did to her, and now with her back like that, the likelihood of us ever getting back together was gone. She's back on the job, and all immortal demony again. Not the affectionate and cheerful girl I had wanted to grow old with once. But then that was before I knew that the happily ever after I wanted might not happen. No, it was possibilty of me turning out to be that monster. I had promised myself never to go that route, but what if I didn't have a choice? Ok, hell of a time to come to a decision on that, the day you're supposed to marry. I had just wanted our lives together to be perfect, and at even the chance otherwise, I ran away.

That's been a big thing for me. Always running away, always hiding. Just because I typically couldn't fight. I was the Zeppo, the fifth wheel. The sarcastic sidekick to crack jokes all the while trying to keep from being killed. Like yesterday, seeing Warren raising the gun, and not doing anything. How stupid is that? To at least push her out the way, or yell look out! I didn't even try to stop him, and the next thing I know, two of my friends are bleeding their lifeblood out. The only reason Buffy survived was because of Willow. Ok, it was all black magicky Willow, which really makes me question the ends justifying the means. But she saved her because I couldn't.

Not like I've saved lives... well, no that's not true. I have in the past. Came up with some good plans in the past, too. I'm not brainy like Willow or Giles, or good at fighting like Buffy, or know magic, but been able to help before. And now, apparently, I might be the only one to do so this time. "No magic or supernatural means" As in normal, average human. Got me written all that.

Enough running away, this time I am going to do something right. I just hope I'm not too late... but then if I was, wouldn't be thinking that, or thinking or breathing in general by then. Wait... Wait...

I can see her.

"In search of you I feel my way,
through the slowest heaving night
Whatever fear invents, I swear it makes no sense
I reach out through the border fence
Come down, come talk to me" - Peter Gabriel, "Come Talk to Me"